Plot is hatched to save Wye's salmon
Monday 29 April 1996
The hundred mile long river, which for much of its length marks the border between England and Wales, has been in steady decline for the past 20 years. There are fears that without action the fish could become extinct in the river.
Now the fishery owners have formed the Wye Foundation. A former water pumping station at a secret location has been converted into a hatchery and there are plans to release 120,000 three-month-old salmon fry into the river and its tributaries next month.
If funds can be made available the aim is to continue releasing 400,000 fry each year until 2002. In addition, work is being carried out to improve the habitat of spawning and nursery areas along several hundred miles of bank.
There is also a survey to assess the economic impact of the collapse of the salmon stocks. This will identify reductions in the numbers of gillies employed, losses to hotels, pubs and tourism and to the retail trade in villages and towns.
Major General John Hopkinson, chairman of the Wye Salmon Fishery Owners and a prime mover behind the new foundation, said: "Many rivers across the country have suffered a similar fate, but here on the Wye we are determined to fight back. The fish population of the river is a barometer of its ecological health."
The Wye Foundation believes it is important that the value of the salmon is recognised both for its recreational appeal and its importance for the economy of the Wye Valley. To this end an awareness campaign is planned including a tour of schools.
Twenty years ago an average of 7,000 salmon a year, weighing an average 12lb, were caught by rod anglers. Now that number has fallen to 2,000, with the average weight down to 8lb. The decline has been particularly bad during spring.
Causes put forward include poaching, netting at sea, neglect of the river and water abstraction by industry and farmers. Whatever the cause, the return to a balanced river ecology will lead to a wealth of flora and fauna and underline the area's position as a Site of Special Scientific Interest and Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
Norman Owen, a gillie on the river, said: "I have fished here for 40 years and maybe in the past we took the salmon for granted and caught too many. Now we know there is not an endless supply and action has to be taken. Nobody wants to see the last of the salmon."
He said there was a view among some people that the salmon were just a rich man's sport, but they are an important part of the river environment enjoyed by all. There had also been a change in attitude amongst fishermen, with many now returning fish or donating them to the hatchery.
- 1 Woman accidentally shoots herself in the head while posing for a selfie
- 2 Isis burns woman alive for refusing to engage in 'extreme' sex act, UN says
- 4 Female Muay Thai champion hustles coaches to give them a beating
- 5 16-year-old girl beaten and burned alive by lynch mob in Rio Bravo, Guatemala
Isis burns woman alive for refusing to engage in 'extreme' sex act, UN says
Purity balls: Girls in the US making virginity pledges as fathers vow to 'protect purity'
Female Muay Thai champion hustles coaches to give them a beating
Puerto Rico, island of lost dreams: People are leaving the debt-hit territory in droves as near neighbour Cuba's star rises
16-year-old girl beaten and burned alive by lynch mob in Rio Bravo, Guatemala
As a white man, I'm surprised more women aren't tweeting the hashtag #KillAllWhiteMen
Scotland may have to leave the EU even if it votes to stay in, David Cameron confirms
The day that Britain resigned as a global power
Almost a third of school pupils believe 'Muslims are taking over our country', study claims
SNP fury as HS2 finds 'no business case' for taking fast train service to Scotland
Gay marriage 'Bert and Ernie' cake bakery found guilty of discrimination in Northern Ireland
£40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software / C# Developer w...
£35 - 40k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Software Developer (JavaS...
£18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: As a Trainee Recruitment Consu...